Selling to China: A book review by Bob Morris

Selling to China: A Guide to Doing Business in China for Small- and Medium-Sized Companies
Stanley Chao
iUniverse, Inc. (2012)

Cutting-edge but practical advice on how small- and medium-size companies can best do business in China

Almost all of the recently published books that I have read about doing business in China were written primarily for C-level executives in large corporations. The fact remains, however, that leaders in almost any company can do business in China, whatever the size and nature of that company may be. Stanley Chao wrote this book for their leaders as well as for those in other companies that are within the chain of distribution/value of a global client. I agree with Chao that most small- to medium-size companies (SMBs) can enjoy the same opportunities in China today “that were once granted [key word] to the large multinational conglomerates.”

His Introduction (all by itself) is worth far more than the cost of this book and substantial value-added benefits are provided by reader-friendly devices that include dozens of “Figures” and “Tables” as well by a “Summary” of key points at the end of each chapter. These devices will facilitate, indeed accelerate frequent review of material later. I should add that all of Chao’s advice can also assist those who prefer to outsource from rather than sell to China. In fact, whichever the direction of the flow of goods and/or services, effective “selling” (i.e. negotiating/haggling, convincing, explain ing) is absolutely essential.

These are among the passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to give at least some indication of the range of subjects that Chao covers:

o Guanxi [one’s personal connections]: It’s Not That Important (Pages 11-15)
o Building Trust (21-26)
o Don’t Trust Your Gut Instincts (47-49)
o [A Translator’s] Three Important Roles(66-68)
o Cultural Differences (90-95)
0 Think Differently (114-123)
o [Do’s and Don’ts When] Countering the Haggle (130-133)
o Questions to answer when determining whether or not a product or service should be sold in China (145-148)
0 Chart 7.1, Answering the Four Qs (150-151)
o [Due Diligence on] Trip Logistics (160-169)
o Selecting Partners (176-177)
o WOFE [Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise] Registration (188-191)
o Chart 10.1, Setting Up in China (207)

In the final chapter, “Thirteen Rules for Doing Business in China,” Chao provides a brilliant review of the key points developed within his lively narrative. This material together with the aforementioned reader-friendly devices substantially increase the nature and extent of this book’s relevance and value.

That said, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope of material that Stanley Chao provides in this volume but I hope that I have at least suggested why I think so highly of him and his work. Also, I hope that those who read this commentary will be better prepared to determine whether or not they wish to read the book and, in that event, will have at least some idea of how the information, insights, and wisdom could perhaps be of substantial benefit to them as well as to their own organization.

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